New 10p Plastic Tax Could Be In The Bag

After agreement between London authorities leaders

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The prospect of a plastic bag tax came closer to fruition this week after an agreement by the leaders of London's 33 boroughs.

The Leaders' Committee of local government umbrella group London Councils approved a range of environmental proposals – including a suggested total ban on plastic bags - to be incorporated in the 10th London Local Authorities Bill, which is due to go before Parliament in November.

The 10p tax for each plastic carrier bag given to shoppers is similar the successful system operated in Ireland and is designed to raise funds to create new recycling facilities.

A spokesperson for Ealing Council said, “The proposals are at their earliest stage and boroughs have not yet been formally consulted on the bag tax. The proposals will now be drafted into a preliminary Bill. Stakeholders and government will then be consulted over the summer for any final observations before it is signed off, with boroughs asked to pass a motion supporting it."

However, the proposals are unlikely to gain approval from Parliament after “concerns” were expressed during an initial consultation into the Bill. Undeterred, London Councils remain committed to pushing for the tax to pressure the government into tackling the issue of plastic bags.

London Councils chairman Cllr Merrick Cockell said, "The proposals for a plastic bag tax levy or borough-led charging points for electric vehicles underline our commitment to addressing these concerns. We hope Londoners will join with us in commending these proposals to Parliament to create a greener, safer city."

Earlier this year Modbury in south Devon became the first town in Europe to ban plastic bags from its shops. From the butchers to the supermarket, none of the town's 43 traders uses plastic bags.

Inspired by this dedication to the environment, local resident Gavin Jones came up with an idea to create a new it bag for Chiswick along the lines of "I’m an e-bag. Not sold for profit. Well apart from saving the environment."

Speaking about his plans, he said “We could start small say in Turnham Green Terrace and ask the shops to sell them at cost instead of plastic bags. They could be made from canvas with soft rope handles, printed with a suitable message one side and local shopping advertising on the other. Like ‘Shop in Turnham Green Terrace - The eco-Friendly Alternative’”

Just like the London Council's proposals, Gavin's bag is in its early stages nevertheless, as Ireland and Anya Hindmarch have shown us, they both have the potential to happen.


July 19, 2007